FAO Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia

Experts joined a webinar on the challenges of fisheries and aquaculture in the face of climate change

The fisheries and aquaculture sector have significantly expanded in the past decades, with global fish production estimated to have reached about 179 million tonnes in 2018, along with increasing trade and consumption. Not only has the sector been key in feeding a growing world population and hence ensuring food security, it is also critical for the livelihoods of almost 60 million people worldwide, according to a recently released FAO report.

However, fisheries are expected to be significantly affected by climate change as a result of acidification of seawaters, changes in sea temperatures and circulation patterns, increase in frequency and severity of extreme events, as well as rise of sea levels and associated ecological changes.

To address these challenges and share national experiences, experts from Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and FAO convened today for the first session of a two-day webinar on climate change adaptation in fisheries and aquaculture, moderated by Haydar Fersoy, FAO senior fishery officer.

The event was organized under the recently initiated project on sustainable fisheries and aquaculture management in Central Asia, Azerbaijan and Turkey (FISHCap), in cooperation with the Bogazici University Center for Climate Change and Policy Studies, a research centre in Istanbul, Turkey. Funding was provided by the Government of Turkey under the FAO-Turkey Partnership Programme on Food and Agriculture.

The webinar aims to provide an overview of the status and impacts of climate change on aquaculture and fisheries in Central Asia and the Caucasus and discuss potential adaptation and mitigation activities. Participants included government staff, decision-makers in fisheries and aquaculture management, academics and researchers involved in climate change issues, as well as fish farmers and representatives of fishers/fish farmers' organizations.

“Fish feeding, migration and breeding behaviours will be directly affected by climate change, which will in turn affect the growth, mortality and reproduction of fish,” noted Fersoy. ”Many external (environmental and sectoral) climate change impacts increasingly affect fisheries and their dependent communities.” 

Reported impacts of changing climate on aquaculture include increased cases of aquatic diseases and parasites, harmful algal blooms, and losses of production and infrastructure arising from extreme events such as floods.

“Therefore, fisheries and aquaculture and their dependent communities are at the forefront of climate change impacts as it will lead to significant changes in the availability and trade of fish products with potentially important geopolitical and economic consequences, especially for those countries most dependent on the sector,“ Fersoy concluded. “The challenge calls for concerted efforts in mitigation and adaptation.”

About the FAO-Turkey Partnership Programme on Food and Agriculture

Established in 2006, the FAO-Turkey Partnership Programme on Food and Agriculture focuses on achieving food security and combating rural poverty in Central Asia and Caucasus countries through projects at the national, multi-country, and subregional level.

To date, the programme has supported countries in the areas of food security, food safety, rural development, natural resources management, and animal and plant genetic resources. The Government of Turkey has contributed USD 20 million to the programme and committed itself to the second phase for the next five years.

23 June 2020, Ankara, Turkey